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Local Market Spotlight: Monterey, Calif.

Jul 23, 2001  •  Post A Comment

With a strong local economy, Monterey, Calif., station managers are hopeful national sales will pick up by either the third or fourth quarter. For now, they say the market may be pacing between 5 percent and
10 percent below last year.
According to BIA Financial Network, Monterey TV revenues were about $36.4 million in 2000 and are expected to be $36.8 million in 2001.
Top ad categories are auto, fast food and soft drinks.
According to Ibra Morales, president of Eagle Television Sales, the market’s national sales are down double-digits. But he said minus last year’s political, the market is pacing flat from a year ago.
“Domestic auto is the one that has the most decreases of all the categories; foreign has been up,” Mr. Morales said. “The telecommunications category has also been disappointing. We find fast food, retail and some of the packaged goods have actually increased.”
To counter the weak national market, CBS affiliate KION-TV added more sales staff to increase local sales, said Vickie Dixon, vice president of sales and marketing. KION, which also runs Fox affiliate KCBA-TV, has had a successful project called “Kid Fest.” In its sixth year, it is a two-day outdoor festival held in October. KION hosts the event and partners with advertisers. “We’ve really established ourselves as being community-oriented,” Ms. Dixon said.
Ms. Dixon said the local economy remains healthy. The market is still largely agricultural, with Salinas, Calif., being the “lettuce capital of the world” and Castroville, Calif., the “artichoke capital of the world.”
“[Agriculture] is having one of their best years they’ve had in several years,” she said. “I think that the local economy is good, but obvious[ly] we’ve been hit by the layoffs in Silicon Valley, because we are a bedroom community for Silicon Valley.”
News is still the most popular platform for advertisers-KCBA’s 10 p.m. newscast is 100 percent sold out at times, Ms. Dixon said.
NBC affiliate KSBW-TV General Manager Joe Heston said the market is healthy. Though it is ranked 118th in market size, it is operating in the top 40 markets in terms of revenue ranking.
“There’s a little bit of political money that has come in already,” Mr. Heston said. “There’s also been some money that’s come in from the energy conservation spots bought by the state of California, and the state also has a healthy-kids campaign now, driven by tobacco settlement money.”
KSBW launched a new Web site in June, and in its first 12 days it received 46,000 hits. “In our size market, that’s the size of a good radio station,” he said.
AT&T and Charter are the top two cable systems in the area, with AT&T covering the majority of the market. According to sources in the market, when buying on AT&T, advertisers have to buy the entire market. Unlike other cable systems, AT&T does not offer different geographical parts of the region to choose from. Advertisers can select 20 cable networks on which to insert commercials. AT&T did not return calls seeking comment on the arrangement.
There is no over-the-air ABC affiliate in the market, and AT&T has found a solution to that. “They’re selling a virtual ABC station-KGO-TV [San Francisco’s ABC affiliate airs in the market]-and have local spots on it,” said one source familiar with the cable system. “The only way to get ABC is over AT&T-they deliver prime time and news. During daytime, AT&T airs Game Show Network.”